Horrible group is horrible like always

I went to my horrible group.

It is horrible. Because. Because I am there and nobody cares. Except Ron left the kleenex box that is for kids by me. Because I like that. But I don’t get to talk to him. In the group. No one says hello to me.

OK, that is the kid’s opinion.

I was feeling awful after work. What else is new. But this was pretty bad, complete with suicidal thoughts. But I drugged myself up and dragged myself to the f’ing group.

My ‘enemy’ E talked tonight. She’s having troubles with her husband, and is also jealous of someone in the group. I listened. I gave a bit of feedback about my own experience with my ex-husband. What else could I really do.

I left the group for about 15 minutes. I was feeling so incredibly lonely and starting to dissociate – depersonalize it’s called. Whatever. I needed to stop that from happening.

It was very lonely to have Ron there, and me feeling so bad, and I really have no one to talk to, and then there wasn’t room to talk in the group anyway. E was very emotional.

I’m thinking of killing myself. Not really. I just think about it all the time. I won’t actually do it. But it is very disturbing to be thinking of death all the time. Even  if it’s in a kind of dissociated kind of a way. And I have to keep reminding myself that it’s the coughing that’s brought it on. I’m coughing loose bits of traumatic memories, and they make me want to die. It’s not my life, though I can find reasons to hate my life. It’s the trauma.

It’s lonely to sit with a bunch of people, in a therapy group for God’s sake, and not be able to mention how bad I feel. After a very lonely day at work where I don’t have a friend.

I ended up shredding an awful lot of kleenex. And staring at the kleenex box, which has kid’s drawings on it. And winding my long scarf around the arms of the chair. And around my neck different ways. I’m eccentric like that, and I don’t care.

I thought towards the end of the group, I’m definitely quitting this group. Then I decided to also quit therapy, since I felt so distant from Ron, like we had no connection whatsoever.

But since getting home, I feel a bit calmer. I don’t feel worse than when I set out. In fact, I think I feel a bit better, which doesn’t make sense.

Blogger is not letting me reply to comments at the moment, but I thank you for commenting on my last.

  1. Laura said:

    hi Ellen, I wonder what it's like, when you dissociate – if anyone can describe it, it would be you! but i can understand if you don't want to do that.from your descriptions of group, I'm starting to be glad that I'm not in one. It's a stark change from therapy, a lot like life – having to compete for space. I'm in a DBT skills group, and everyone speaks by turn – altho not necessarily about the present moment. I think of it as a beginner's group. everyone gets a share of the group's and therapist's attention.give yourself a hug for me – hope you're feeling better today

  2. group will get easier once you claim your space within it. you are not there to make other people happy, you are there, hopefully, to grow and learn. and one way to do that is to participate fully. i know it is scary, but it will be so worth it.

  3. Ellen said:

    @ Laura = Everyone does dissociate to some degree, so it's not something you haven't experienced. It's a zoning out type of feeling. The problem for me is I get stuck in it. With depersonalization, I feel as if I'm unreal. Sometimes as if I'm made of paper, or of metal. I can't feel anything. It's a disturbing way of being. Your DBT group sounds good – a bit of structure to give everyone some space. Is DBT like ACT? I learned the basics of ACT once.I was feeling pretty lonely, and your comment helped! thanks@ brave – OK, have you been talking to Ron? Because that's what he told me today. thanks Catherine

  4. Laura said:

    I have never looked at ACT before, and it does seem quite similar to DBT, in that it's based on training yourself to be aware and accepting of your thoughts and emotions. It seems as if you get something good from being with your group, and you want something from them.Would it be possible to give E your feedback, and then say – wow, I'm really, really feeling bad here, and I'd love some help from the group. I'll bet you a heart-shaped donut with sprinkles that you weren't the only one.

  5. hi ellen, ha ha i think like ron… i've just had lots of therapy, and lots of group therapy. when i had my 4 month intensive group therapy i didn't speak up at first and i went home with a terrible headache and overwhelming sadness each day. it only got better once i started talking and taking what i needed from the group. can't wait to read about today's session

  6. Ruth said:

    Group therapy was hard for me too. But I ended up with one friend that we have now been friends for about 8 years. So something good came out of it for me. If you felt better afterwords maybe it is serving a need you don't recognize yet. I was listed as having severe dissociation. It sucks. Especially when it blocks me from connecting or sharing with someone that I do want to connect with. I can understand doing what you need to do to stop it. Dissociation is powerful for surviving bad stuff, really sucks for everyday living.

  7. Ellen said:

    @ brave – that does sound kind of like my experience for sure. thx@ Laura – Well, part of me would do an awful lot for that heart shaped donut 🙂 I"d be interested if you find DBT helpful. I don't know about saying that…that is essentially what Ron said too. E really was in the middle of major stuff, crying etc, and I would have been shutting her down. But I do have to find some way of being present there as well. thx@ Ruth – I've been reading about your experience of group with interest Ruth. I can relate to the way you responded to an activity in the group with anger – that kind of happens to me also, and is one reason I'm reluctant to participate. Yep, dissociation sucks. Lovely to get a friend out of group – I don't think that'll happen for me, but I'm glad it did for you. thank you

  8. Laura said:

    not to beat a dead horse, but if you have it in your mind that you have to wait until no one else is speaking, you may never get the chance. It didn't come through that she was dealing with major stuff (jealous of someone?), but even so, perhaps you could say – that you're hoping to get some of the group's time when she's done. that would be the challenge for me, too, but this is the place for experimenting. DBT has been helpful… I think it's the structure it provides. I'm afraid that Howard doesn't really have much need for language (or he wants me to use my own), and even though I can imagine that language shrinks experience, I cling to it. So DBT gives me language to start from, and instructions, circles and arrows, describing emotions, strategies for overwhelming situations, how to make a request, how to tolerate distress. You wouldn't use a DBT skills group to learn how to stay on your feet in a social situation, or for the other members to stir up stuff for you to work on, as E is so obligingly doing. We talk about the skills homework we did that week, and if you can work your suicidal thoughts into that format, fine. There are more advanced 'process' groups, once you've got the skills, I understand. Seems like everyone takes a couple years to really assimilate the skills, and I'm just finishing my first year. It was developed for people who have frequent overwhelming emotions – and I'm apparently pretty successful at not feeling emotions, so sometimes it doesn't seem like a great fit – like when we're supposed to diagram an emotional event, for the homework. There are many workbooks and such on DBT, so you can get a pretty good idea whether it interests you.I know that it's really helped people who've now left the group in a much better condition than when they started.I think the therapist makes a big difference too. Ours is uniformly upbeat, warm and validating – no enigmatic expressions!! A beginner-group.Long answer.

  9. Laura said:

    ok, I went back and looked, something with her husband. in the past. You were having a crisis right there in the present that was so painful you left the room. just sayin…

  10. Ellen said:

    Hi Laura, Thanks for describing your DBT group. It sounds a lot like ACT as both are meant to help people deal with overwhelming emotions, like if you have BPD for instance (which neither of us has it seems like). Maybe you don't feel much because if you do, it is overwhelming for you? Then DBT would be a great skill to have to allow you to access your emotions without being overwhelmed? Just a thought. Nice that the T is upbeat. Can't say that's something Ron is. He's not cheery at all. I'm haven't really described the group properly because of privacy concerns mainly. Not supposed to mention it anywhere, let alone on the internet. The way E described her situation, she'd been so upset after the last group she was standing on a rooftop patio somewhere thinking of jumping…So she was very upset. But yeah, my crisis was in the moment, it's true. Thanks for pointing that out. E is 'obligingly' stirring things up for me. He He. Very true.

  11. Candycan said:

    Group sounds horrible. I so would not want to have to go to that group either. I don't blame you for hating it. Especially Ron being there. It's bad enough being alone when you're actually alone. Feeling alone when you're sitting near someone who means so much to you is just a million times worse. Sending waves of sympathy: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  12. Ellen said:

    Thanks for the waves. :-)Yes, having Ron being there yet inaccessible is part of the problem. thanks Candy

  13. Laura said:

    your comment about the relevance of DBT is right on. that's the idea, that I'm learning how to tolerate and be mindful of thoughts and emotions. I'm also in individual therapy for what happens at a less conscious level.good point about privacy concerns and group – and I should always remember that there's more to the story.

  14. Ellen said:

    coolno worries – I tend to leave bits out in any case, and can always put them back in if needed for clarity.

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